Updated: Mar 7, 2019
As he talks about his historic, 1849-built tavern, you can hear just a hint of his Cape Cod accent and a lot of loving pride for his business in his soft-spoken voice. Owner Steve Motta has put his heart and soul into building his business at Lake Church Pub and Grill into a friendly oasis for locals and travelers alike, and a venue focused on helping our community and the people in it.
Motta moved to Belgium ten years ago as a cable company worker, where he once converted cable from analog to digital up on poles just outside the bar he now owns. A year after moving here, he took a job at the pub and is now in his fifth year as its owner.
In Motta’s tenure at Lake Church Pub, it has become known for a lot of things- frequent bands, monthly karaoke, and a great fish fry, to name a few. But what makes Lake Church Pub really special is its monthly charity event. Each month, Motta selects a person in need or a local non-profit to raise money for, and on the 3rd Saturday of the month, holds a meat raffle benefit. These raffles, which typically feature around a dozen prizes and provide their beneficiaries with around $1200, are held from 1:30 pm to 5:30 or 6:00 pm. This month’s raffle, happening this Saturday, January 19th, benefits a gentleman just returning from his last deployment. Past recipients have included Balance, Inc, the Belgium Fire Department and Belgium Lions Club.
While the pub is a welcoming destination for guests staying at the adjoining inn, Motta describes it as very community-based, where everyone knows everyone’s names. The back of the building can be reserved for parties, and kids love playing his stuffed animal claw game.
Every Friday, Lake Church Pub does a fish fry from 4:30-9:30 pm but guests looking for a taste of Cape Cod should try Boston Steve’s Linguica Sandwich. Not to be confused with linguini, linguica (pronounced lin-gui-sa) is a spicy Portuguese sausage popular on the East coast. His sandwich grills the linguica and piles it high with red and green peppers, jalapeno cheese, and a jalapeno ranch sauce. Motta originally had to fly the linguica in, until he found it locally at Klements.
The menu also features locally produced Luige’s Pizza and Oostburg bakery buns, and entrees include everything from philly sandwiches to wraps. New this year is Tamale Tuesdays featuring authentic Mexican beef or chicken tamales, and Wednesday is build your own burger night, where you just might be tempted to try his $30 burger challenge, which includes two half pound burger patties encased in a grilled cheese sandwich and piled high with deep-fried add-ons. It comes with two orders of French fries. Anyone completing this monster burger within an hour gets a t-shirt and to have their picture taken. “A couple have done it,” Motta claims, “but most have failed.” Packer and Brewer games are always fun to watch at Lake Church, with good food specials and free shots when our teams score. Motta also does catering upon request.
Local historians may remember the building’s original roots- it was built by the Schanen family as a butcher shop and general store. The bar was added in the early 1900s. The building has maintained its cozy charm and character, and its original tin ceiling, but Motta claims it maintains even more than that. “The bar is haunted,” he says. “You’ll see shadows. It will look like people are walking in and then no one’s there. Lights flicker.” He pauses, then laughs, “But the ghosts, they’re cool, though.”
Lake Church Pub and Grill is located at 690 County Road D just outside of Belgium. It can be reached by calling 262-285-3475 or more info is online at www.lakechurchinn.com. Hours are Monday through Thursday from 3 pm til close, and Friday through Sunday from 11 am til close.